Pembrokeshire, west Wales 1904: Apprentice solicitor Arthur Nicholas is seeking to trace one William Batine James, who stands to inherit an impressive farm near Fishguard.
Although Arthur knows James emigrated to Canada and then America in the early 1870s, nothing has been heard of him since.
What Arthur cannot know is that, following a series of adventures, James enlisted in the US Seventh Cavalry at Chicago in February 1872 and four years later fought at the Battle of the Little Bighorn; better known as Custer’s Last Stand, when 210 soldiers were massacred by the largest force of Indians ever assembled on the Great Plains…
As the unsuspecting Seventh depart Fort Abraham Lincoln, bound for their Armageddon, James himself recounts the tortured odyssey he undertook from a tiny north Pembrokeshire village all the way to hostile Indian territory in Montana Territory.
These recollections are interspersed with Arthur’s own dogged efforts in following his trail thirty years later. As his investigation unfolds Arthur’s motivation to find the elusive James unexpectedly becomes more personal than professional.
James reveals a chain of personal tragedy plus a brutal schooling during the hated ‘Welsh Not’ era when children such as himself were caned and beaten for using their native tongue.
This has cost him his religious faith; inexplicably, he finds himself unable to recite The Lord’s Prayer in Welsh.
While proving himself a proficient soldier, James grows increasingly uncomfortable at what he comes to regard as the US Government’s persecution of the Indians; even drawing parallels with Welsh oppression.
On the fateful ride to Little Bighorn, James reflects on his troubled past and gradually comes to the realisation that he is as much a fugitive as the Indians he is pursuing.
But the one thing he has not taken into account is that a man can never escape from himself…
Based on true events, Mike Lewis’s novel examines how horrific childhood experiences shape the adults we become.